Chestnut Knob Loop Trail

HARD 46 reviews

Chestnut Knob Loop Trail is a 7.8 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Bostic, North Carolina that features a waterfall and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 7.8 miles Elevation Gain: 1,515 feet Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash



mountain biking

nature trips

trail running

bird watching




wild flowers



washed out

This trail is wide and rocky, with steep grades so it can be fairly difficult to make it to the top.

1 month ago

South Mountains is a great park, but I'm not sure this is the best hike out there. The first 2 miles is very strenuous, climbing about 1300 feet. You will reach the point where you can add on the Chestnut Knob Overlook. This only adds 0.4 miles round trip. We went out, and the view wasn't exactly spectacular. Great view of the ridges and heavily forested gorge below, but it just didn't blow either of us away. If you return back to where this overlook spur takes you, it'll run into the Sawtooth Trail. Be careful here. Taking Sawtooth to the left (west) will likely add a lot more miles to make a loop. This AllTrails map is missing quite a few elements, too. If you take Sawtooth to the west and connect with Horseridge Trail (turn right) then to Upper CCC, you're probably adding at least 2-3 more miles on top of the 7.8 listed here. We continued heading north/east on Sawtooth, and it eventually crosses over a shallow part of the Litthe River. You then turn right onto CCC and head south. You'll cross back over the river at the top of a waterfall, where we could not find any spot to view it. Oddly enough, you can hear it but there is a safety fence near the top blocking access. Probably for good reason, but disappointing. Sawtooth, CCC, and Little River trails are essentially wide multi-use hiking/horse trails. They are extremely rocky and have a LOT of gravel. The Little River portion at the end is very steep coming back down to the road. I think there are many other better trails in this park. If I could give it 3.5 rating, I would. For a much better detailed map:

5 months ago

I enjoyed this hike. I made a loop by taking the following route: Chestnut Knob > Chestnut Knob Overlook spur and back > Sawtooth > Horseridge > Possum > Shinny > Return on multi trail to parking lot. That loop came out to about 7.8 miles. Nice hike with several moderate ascents and descents, a few decent views of surrounding and distant mountains. I definitely recommend this as a winter hike for better views and avoiding bugs/gnats. There is a new picnic table at the gorge overlook on the Sawtooth trail which is a nice spot for a break.

5 months ago

I had a blast on this trail! We started at the Chestnut Knob trail and ate lunch on the knob. The view was a little hazy so we couldn’t see Charlotte but beautiful nonetheless. We decided to keep going up the Sawtooth to Horseridge trail. These trails are mostly ridge walking and well maintained. We descended on Possum Trail and let me tell you...that was fun. Skinny little trail plummeting down a gorge with views going straight down. Hit the bottom to cross a bridge and then a creek so bring a towel. The water was so cold! Came back to civilization at the Shinny campsites. Overall trip close to 9 miles. Possum Ridge is fairly technical but definitely worth it if you’re not afraid of heights. Saw less than 20 people on these trails.

5 months ago

Where did you guys park?

11 months ago

10/10 would hike again.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Great hike with a few great mountain overlooks. Good elevation challenge in the first few miles and enjoyable length. The loop spans multiple trails in this order: Chesnut Knob, Sawtooth Trail, Upper CCC, Little River Trail, Raven Rock Trail, and River Trail. There were a lot of gnats though.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

This hike is definitely a workout. The first 1-1.5 miles are pretty much a non-stop incline. After that it’s pretty much smooth sailing, with a few short inclines that sufficiently get your heart pumping. Took my dog and she loved it. It was definitely a workout for her too! We added an extra .4 miles to go to the Chestnut Knob overlook. The view itself is pretty good, but there’s not really anywhere to sit comfortably and no shade. And because we went on a fairly warm day, the sun was a little too much. Other than the overlook, there’s a few spots with some decent views, and places to sit and enjoy them. As other mentioned there are a ton of burnt trees, so a little dreary but nothing too bad. Overall I’m giving this hike a 4 because it’s a great workout, but it’s just short of a 5 because of the lackluster views.

Saturday, February 03, 2018

We did Chestnut Knob, followed by Sawtooth , Upper CCC , and Little River Trail. A total of about 7.9 miles with over 1,400 ft elevation. Great workout for the day!

Thursday, February 01, 2018

Great challenging day hike.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

For some reason my track didn't save the past couple of times, but, for the past month the gnats are HORRIBLE in the fire damaged areas!...repellant doesn't seem to help much either. But, still, a nice loop. There's even a hidden waterfall just off-trail (which I marked and took a picture of...shame the track didn't save).

Friday, July 07, 2017

I did chestnut knob today with my golden. He is 5 months out from acl surgery and did great! We can't wait to go back and see the falls next time

Saturday, June 03, 2017

I completed a very enjoyable 6.3 mile loop that included 1280 feet of elevation gain. It was basically a two mile climb up to Chestnut Knob, followed by a more gradual four mile descent by way of the wider Sawtooth, Upper CCC and Little River bridal trails. I can definitely see myself returning to experience this hike again during a different season.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

The first mile is the most challenging. From there it's pretty moderate. Yes, a good amount of fire devastation. Part of nature. Otherwise great scenery. You share the trail with the horses and their earthly deposits.

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Trail was closed when I attempted on April 8, 2017.

Thursday, March 02, 2017

The overlook was not as impressive as I thought it would be. Currently a lot of devastation from the forest fires.

Friday, September 23, 2016

My favorite of all time. I've hiked them all. Super strenuous for the non experienced hiker in some areas. Get what you put into it here. Be careful and take some basic supplies in case of a slip trip or fall.

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Amazing trails, my family and i love to visit here. If you never been here in the fall or winter months please give it a shot. Beautiful view with ice on the side of the mountains.

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Trail was beautiful and well maintained. I would definitely come again as the state park has 40 miles of trails and its easy to navigate different trails. Park ranger office is very friendly and they have free maps as well.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

great hike. fun to catch on the backside by the state hospital reservoir 20 min from downtown Morganton and great mountain views of south mountain up close and table rock in the distance. we hiked 4 miles round trip. moderate up and down but could do with my almost 60 year old parents

Monday, November 16, 2015


Tuesday, August 25, 2015


Saturday, May 30, 2015

Love it

Friday, December 06, 2013

I had a couple of pleasant hikes there.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

I had no clue this trail was 17 miles long!! That explains why I was hiking in the dark ad it was closing time when I got out. I was really getting worried when it got dark and I had no flash light. Outside of that it was a good hike however a bit boring.

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Fantastic state park full of trails, camping and beautiful water features. About half the trails are wide and maintained as equestrian trails, though they are also great for mountain biking. The problem, from a hiking perspective, is they are largely comprised of gravel and a little boring to hike. Every now and again you'll find an opening in the trees and catch a beautiful vista. If you hike the trails in the fall or summer there is less overgrowth and more to see. Aside from the equestrian trails the trails which are more compatible with hikers are really great. Chestnut Knob, Shinning Creek, High Shoals; all wonder hikes. The best way to tackle the park is plan for a two day with a stay at one of the camp grounds.

Monday, July 09, 2012

I frequently hike at South Mountain. It's a beautiful place to go. Although I would recommend for someone to go during the fall/spring. The winter and summer are very cold and hot at times.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Took the trail to the Waterfall - then climbed to the Upper Falls overlook - not a bad view! Lots of spurs and loops intermixed with the campgrounds to keep you busy!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Great hike during the winter. Hike New Years day 2011. Waterfall was frozen and beautiful. Snow on the ground, approx 2"

mountain biking
Monday, April 26, 2010

The road was in excellent condition, but I didn't realize that it was 17 miles. I had to turn back after reaching to top. I was running out of daylight, and my dog was exhausted. I had recently purchased my bike, and did not have the conditioning for such demanding hills. I had to push my bike most of the way. lol I do plan on returning to finish the full 17 mile loop very soon. The huge waterfall, and views at the top of the mountain are beautiful. At the top do not take the trail that leads back down to the waterfall. Your better off going back the way you came, or finishing the loop. You'll have to carry your bike for a mile, and down a very steep set of steps. This is not something you want to do exhausted.

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